On the 11th of February 2019 the EU Commission implemented its Regulation 317/2019 in which it sets out the mechanism where European Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) are allowed to charge airlines for the safe and efficient Air Traffic Control and Management (ATC/ATM).
Two weeks ago,The European Commission organised a meeting with European General Directors of Civil Aviation.
The European Commission proposed a plan for the ANSPs with 2 options:
“The meeting the European Commission held last week with the European General Directors of Civil Aviation could be a step towards bankruptcy for most of the European agencies providing Air Traffic Control” says Mr Volker Dick, President of ATCEUC.
This balanced mechanism has been in place since 2012. When the traffic is higher than expected, the ATM industry gives back the excess revenue to the Airline industry but if the traffic is lower than expected, the Airline industry contributes to alleviate the losses of this European infrastructure.
“In 2019 several hundreds millions of Euros were returned to the Airline Industry, reducing costs for passengers or boosting profits.” says Mr Jean-Denis Larrere, 1st Vice President of ATCEUC.
Now is the time (with all of the COVID 19 related difficulties) to implement the EU Regulation in full. ANSPs should be allowed to charge properly for their services as agreed in order to ensure the future of a critical EU infrastructure and guarantee the safety of the flying public.
ATCEUC is well aware of the importance of having a healthy Aviation industry and how many jobs depend on it. The ATM industry is crucial to maintaining all of the jobs in aviation by delivering a safe and resilient European Aviation infrastructure which must be adequately funded and equipped.
It simply defies all logic to protect one sector of the Aviation industry at the expense of another.
Services to ambulance, humanitarian, state and cargo flights have been delivered during this lockdown period. Air Traffic Controllers, System Engineers are still on duty at the same time ATM revenues have dropped by around 95%.
Furthermore, ATM as in other infrastructural industries has fixed costs that are planned for in the long term.
“ATCEUC on the contrary, would have expected some help from the European Commission to face this critical situation.” concludes Mr Volker Dick. “The economic damage to ATM are now critical, some ANSPs are facing the terrifying prospect of bankruptcy and this will be a huge problem for the Airline Industry in its tentative to resume normal operations.
ATCEUC urges European States to refuse the two options proposed by the Commission. Time can be needed to implement it but the principle of this protective mechanism as it is written in the current regulation must be fully maintained.”